Tag Archives: Fitness

The unthinkable

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Last week during training I did the unthinkable… I took my shirt off during training!

The studio was empty, and I had been working hard.  I thought it would be nice to see what my lines looked like on video without any tank top interference.  So, after a big gulp of courage and took off that extra layer.


What’s the big deal?

As a professional circus artist living in Montreal I have the great pleasure of training next to elite athletes every day. Being in this environment can be very inspiring, but it can also be intimidating.  I can’t help but look at these circus bodies and think: “damn girl”!  I also can’t seem to stop comparing myself to their bodies and think “that ain’t me”. I’m a mean, lean, circus machine, but all I can focus on while I’m at training is the fact that I don’t have a six-pack.

“This isn’t necessarily the fault of the circus industry […], but an issue of my own lack of self-confidence. “

This isn’t necessarily the fault of the circus industry, even though there is a great deal of pressure to “look” a certain way, but an issue of my own lack of self-confidence.  Just the other day I was talking to a girlfriend who proudly announced that she went to her hot yoga class in a sports bar and tights.  I was so inspired by her body confidence, and ashamed that I didn’t have the same level of self-assurance.

*Speaking of six-packs… check out this video by the folks of Cirque du Soleil*

Two summers ago my goal was to get a six pack and I worked with a coach to reach my goal.  Getting to that level of lean body mass and maintaining it in a healthy way meant a high level of commitment and sacrifice.  I’m talking diligent meal planning,  not enjoying a pint of cider on a patio, or treating myself to a summer gelato.  In the end I decided I wasn’t interested in attaining that “perfect” body image.  I held on to the good eating habits and allowed myself the freedom of having the occasional treat.  For me that is a more sustainable model.  But, there was another element at play that I was forgetting… Self-love.

“Let’s face it, the biggest person judging me… is ME!”

I make a conscious effort to eat whole food, eat consciously, and limit my refined sugar.  I have felt the benefits of eating well balance, and properly proportioned meals.  But, I still struggle with having a positive body image.

That is why training in my sport bra the other day, and snapping that pic (see above) was such a huge moment for me.

I’m shifting my thinking. I’m proud of my body without being spent on getting ripped.

Let’s face it, the biggest person judging me… is ME! And I don’t want to feel ashamed of my body.  I want to be proud.  I work hard, I’m strong and my body is amazing.

So strip off those layers, and ignore the nay-sayers.  We all deserve to feel free in our own skin.

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If you want to learn more about “the cost of getting lean” I encourage you to read this article by Ryan Andrews & Brian St. Pierre of Precision Nutrition.

For support on finding a healthy balance with food and exercise, or if you struggle with a food intolerance, I encourage you to contact me for a nutrition consultation. See my nutrition page.

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Strong Woman

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I was talking to a friend the other day, who was telling me how, unfortunately for her, she develops muscle really easily.  In order to rectify this muscle gaining “issue” she has sworn off any physical activity that might make her body, specifically her arms, too bulky.

 

Her main fear being that if she gains too much muscle she will look MANLY.

Let’s talk about this!

“By disallowing ourselves as women to portray strength we are indirectly contributing to the notion that women should be frail, soft, weak […]”

For one… Why are we as a society accepting this idea that a strong woman is UNATTRACTIVE?  To me a strong body, on any gender, is a demonstration of confidence, independence, health, longevity.  That’s a pretty sexy list right there.

By disallowing ourselves as women to portray strength we are indirectly contributing to the notion that women should be frail, soft, weak; and, that men should be muscular, strong and powerful.

Why is a muscular body on a woman associated with so much negativity?

How is this:

Less SEXY than this…

 

Strength is not only about aesthetics, it’s also about HEALTH!

Now, it s not my intention to get into a big gender debate, so allow me to also remind you of some facts…Strength is not only about aesthetics, it’s also about HEALTH!

Strength training has repeatedly been associated with the reduction of bone loss.  T.V. Nguyen in his article Bone Loss, Physical Activity, and Weight Change in Elderly Women: The Dubbo Osteoporosis Epidemiology Study explains that: “From a public health viewpoint, physical activity has long been advocated as a component of a healthy lifestyle,43 in part in relation to osteoporosis prevention.” In Nguyen’s extensive study he concludes that : “active women had minimal or no bone loss, while less active and sedentary women experienced significant reductions in bone density.”

These are FACTS, I’m not making them up!

By building muscle you are not only helping reduce body fat, you are helping your body live longer.

Here are some more advantages to weight training, as outline by the Mayo Clinic:

  • Develop strong bones. By stressing your bones, strength training can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Manage your weight. Strength training can help you manage or lose weight, and it can increase your metabolism to help you burn more calories.
  • Enhance your quality of life. Strength training may enhance your quality of life and improve your ability to do everyday activities. Building muscle also can contribute to better balance and may reduce your risk of falls. This can help you maintain independence as you age.
  • Manage chronic conditions. Strength training can reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions, such as arthritis, back pain, obesity, heart disease, depression and diabetes.
  • Sharpen your thinking skills. Some research suggests that regular strength training and aerobic exercise may help improve thinking and learning skills for older adults.

I work really hard to build muscle. I recognize that my passion for this might be greater than the average person.  However, you don’t have to be a professional circus artist or an athlete to be healthy, 2 weight training sessions a week can make all the difference.

By making myself stronger I’m not only contributing to my ability to excel in my chosen artistic discipline, I’m also helping myself live a longer, happier life.  I will not sit idly-by and allow my body to degenerate, in order to support the notion that as a woman I am not supposed to look strong.  Muscles are sexy on everyone, because healthy is sexy on everyone.  Now go out there and lift some weights!

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August 20, 2016 · 2:15 pm